Tuesday, June 1, 2004 (Tavarua and Namotu Islands, Fiji) Two-time world champion Tom Carroll (Newport, AUS) today dished out a major upset in the Quiksilver Pro. Following five consecutive lay-days, second round elimination heats in the Foster’s men’s World Championship Tournament (WCT) were completed in perfect conditions at ‘Restaurants’, as well as the first third round clash this afternoon.
Excellent 6ft (2m) waves remained on offer throughout the day, with larger 8ft (2.5m) sets pushing through the lineup. The world-renowned lefthander producing amazing barrels the length of the long, shallow reef break. Despite rain and strong onshore winds, surf God ‘Huey’ shined on the lineup for the most part.
Carroll created a massive upset by eliminating West Australian wunderkind Taj Burrow. The 42-year-old Quiksilver Pro wildcard used his barreling riding skills to advantage, emerging from one at the outset to lead a low-scoring heat. While Burrow was well within range throughout, the 25-year-old failed to post anything higher than a 5.0 and suffered an uncharacteristic 33rd place finish, putting his current ASP rating of 3rd into jeopardy.
“Taj is one of the top guys right now, said Carroll. “He’s an extraordinary guy to beat, for me. His natural abilities are on fire, and there’s not one weak spot in his surfing. You’ve got to be right on the mark with him, and really maintain priority. It’s an odd feeling being in amongst 20-year-old kids ripping the living daylights out of every wave they find. It really is an honor.
Brazilian Neco Padaratz (Florianopolis, SC) earned the highest scores of the day, as well as the Quiksilver Pro so far, with a pair of near-perfect 9.5’s in his 19-point tally. Against Michael Campbell (Port Macquarie, AUS), both enjoyed unbelievable waves, but it was the natural footer who impressed the judges most by finding exits to his critically deep barrels.
“We don’t have those kinds of waves at home, laughed Padaratz. “Mick and I couldn’t believe it when we got out there, as every wave was barreling so perfectly. I saw some of the best waves I’ve ever seen, and had so much fun. They were some of the best barrels I’ve ever had, and probably the best view I’ve ever had inside one. The tail of my surfboard slid out a couple of times while I was inside the tube, but somehow I came out. It was just like a dream.
Lee Winkler (Coffs Harbour, AUS) picked off the second highest scores to eliminate Kalani Robb (HAW) in the match prior. The current ratings #17 earned his best ever WCT score for a near-perfect 9.8, and together with another 9, left Robb well in his wake.
“I wasn’t really planning on getting out of those waves, admitted Winkler. “I just told myself to hold on for grim death, and they let me out. All of them seemed to the do the same thing, so it was unreal. One of the best heats I’ve ever had and it’s been a sick day.
Former world #2 Shane Powell (Avoca, NSW) — a WCT replacement in this year’s tournament — created another upset by eliminating 2002 Quiksilver Pro winner and fellow Australian Michael Lowe (Windang, NSW). Lowe actually won the title at ‘Restaurants’ two years ago, but against Powell this morning, allowed his opponent to catch a great 8.33 ride, and then fell on the following set wave. The powerful goofy footer — who won the Quiksilver Pro on Australia’s Gold Coast earlier this year – did come alive one ride for a 7.67 score, but lost once ‘Powelly’ locked in his 8.57 to seal victory.
“I’m feeling good as I haven’t won a heat in so long, began Powell. “Since (Shane) Beschen has been injured, I’ve gotten in to Tahiti and now here. I haven’t had a good run in contests for about six months though, so I’m stoked now. I was having nightmares about facing ‘Lowey’ at ‘Restaurants’ in 4-6 ft surf (laughs). I just had to focus and be confident. I’m not worried about ratings points or anything, so I went out there to have fun and not stress, andd it paid off.
Powell will next face Taylor Knox, after he eliminated fellow Californian and Quiksilver Trials winner Dane Reynolds in another great heat this morning.
Damien Hobgood (FL, USA) was another standout today, posting 18.6 combined points. The Floridian stopped an in-form Toby Martin (Dee Why, AUS), who would have also won most other heats with his performance and high scoring rides.
“I saw the wind switching a bit, and figured we could take off further outside, explained Hobgood, of his long barrels. “Toby got a screamer, but sure enough the one behind was just as good, and I just myself not to come out of the barrel unless I had to (laughs).
1999 event and world champion Mark Occhilupo (Gold Coast, AUS) won both his second and third round heats today. The 37-year-old accounted for fellow Australian Luke Hitchings (Bronte, NSW) this morning, and then defeated Bruce Irons (Kauai, HAW) in round three’s first and only match-up. Unfortunately conditions deteriorated dramatically this afternoon, making their heat less than the show it promised to be. Irons didn’t even ride a wave until the final 8-minues, before clawing his way back into contention. The WCT newcomer still required another 5.35 following his last 4.33 score.
“The waves went from perfect to very bad, said Occhilupo. “The tide came in and all the water started rushing through the lineup. It was unfortunate, but stoked I got away with the win.
Early this morning, six-time world champion Kelly Slater (FL, USA) defeated local Fijian wildcard Isei Tokovou. The Floridian actually trailed following the pair’s opening rides, but sealed a convincing victory with his final 9.33 ride. Slater will next face Hawaiian wildcard Fred Patacchia.
Quiksilver Pro Round Two (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd receives US$3,400)
H1: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.33 def. Isei Tokovou (FIJI) 7.5
H2: Tom Carroll (AUS) 9.7 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.6
H3: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.0 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 12.5
H4: Shane Powell (AUS) 16.9 def. Michael Lowe (AUS) 11.57
H5: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.17 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 3.43
H6: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 14.34 def. Luke Hitchings (AUS) 12.36
H7: Luke Egan (AUS) 13.84 def. Greg Emslie (ZAF) 7.63
H8: Jake Paterson (AUS) 12.63 def. Eric Rebiere (FRA) 12.2
H9: Guilherme Herdy (BRA) 15.33 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 9.43
H10: Dean Morrison (AUS) 14.9 def. Nathan Webster (AUS) 14.0
H11: Paulo Moura (BRA) 11.9 def. Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) 10.17
H12: Pat O’Connell (USA) 15.5 def. Troy Brooks (AUS) 12.0
H13: Damien Hobgood (USA) 18.6 def. Toby Martin (AUS) 16.97
H14: Lee Winkler (AUS) 18.8 def. Kalani Robb (HAW) 13.77
H15: Neco Padaratz (BRA) 19.0 def. Michael Campbell (AUS) 17.17
H16: Sunny Garcia (HAW) 14.93 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 11.5
Round Three (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17th receives US$4,225)
H1: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 11.84 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 10.83